Boxing Day sales success a surprise for retailers

Published: Sun 28 Dec 2008 02:02 PM
Boxing Day sales success caught retailers by surprise
The success of the Boxing Day sales has caught some retailers completely on the hop, particularly yesterday, claims the head of Auckland’s leading shopping district.
“Most retailers weren’t anticipating the mayhem that we witnessed on Boxing Day. I think everyone thought it was going to be an average Boxing Day given the economic environment and the fact that Christmas Eve was a record day across the country. However it turned out to be the biggest Boxing Day for New Zealand retail ever,” says Cameron Brewer, general manager of the Newmarket Business Association.
This morning electronic transaction provider Paymark reported that Boxing Day trade was up by more than 8% across the country compared to 2007, with Auckland up more than 11% and Wellington up 15% on the previous year.
“It’s a huge but welcome surprise. We thought that because so many retailers went into sale mode before Christmas most people would have already picked up their bargains. However we underestimated just how much demand there would still be. The New Zealand consumer had more capacity to spend than most of us anticipated.
“Shopping vouchers were popular gifts this year. They are very practical presents when consumer confidence is waning. Subsequently a lot of vouchers are now being redeemed. Also, more and more Kiwis are buying their presents after Christmas and that has also helped to boost these unprecedented sales.
“Many retailers didn’t foresee a record breaking Boxing Day and subsequently many found themselves overwhelmed with customers and simply understaffed and ill-prepared.
“The success of the Boxing Day sales has been very timely. New Zealand’s December retail figures won’t nearly be as bad as what the United States and other countries are experiencing. The US is enduring the worst holiday season retailing in nearly 40 years, with some categories down 20% or 30%.
“A record Christmas Eve and Boxing Day will help our overall December retailing statistics. New Zealand may in fact be one of the few countries in the world that has taken the smallest hit this Christmas.
“Retailers needed the last week of 2008 to be a good one. It has been and so many retailers will now be in better shape to take on the challenges of 2009,” said Cameron Brewer.

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